Marikana cop denies responsibility

2013-08-30 18:02
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe denies responsibility for the actions of police who shot dead striking mineworkers at Marikana, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

Vuyani Ngalwana, for the police, asked Mpembe whether he took any responsibility for the officers' actions, who claimed to have shot the miners in self-defence.

"No, chairperson," Mpembe replied.

He was overall police commander during the unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West in August last year.

Mpembe also denied any responsibility for actions that led to the deaths of two police officers and the wounding of another.

The slain officers were hacked, stabbed and shot by striking mineworkers on 13 August 2012 as they escorted the miners to a hill where other miners had gathered.

One officer fired teargas at the miners, and they retaliated by attacking police.

Ngalwana requested that Mpembe go through the affidavit of Lieutenant Shitumo Baloyi, the policeman wounded when the miners attacked.

Mpembe agreed with Ngalwana that nowhere in the statement did Baloyi claim that Mpembe or the SA Police Service (SAPS) put his life in danger on the day of the incident.

Baloyi was also not instructed to get out of the Nyala armoured vehicle or fire at the striking mineworkers.

Mpembe said he accepted responsibility for the plan police had intended to use to disperse and disarm miners, who had illegally gathered on 16 August, as he had contributed to it.

"I thought it was good plan," said Mpembe.

He said the plan had been disrupted.

The commission, sitting in Centurion, is investigating the circumstances that led to the deaths of 44 people during the unrest.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers on 16 August 2012.

Ten other people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

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Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  william mpembe  |  marikana inquiry
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